Read ‘Em and Weep: Bishop Accountability Publishes Data On Claims Against Philly Priests


Click here to read: “Watchdog group releases data on claims against Archdiocese of Philadelphia priests,” by John P. Martin, The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 23, 2013

Editor’s note: If you couldn’t attend Msgr. William Lynn’s trial, here’s your chance to examine the documents submitted as evidence. “Read ’em and weep” was never a more appropriate statement. The Church hierarchy has dealt the Philly faithful a bad hand. – Susan Matthews

Excerpt from Martin’s article: “The group, BishopAccountability.org, culled the documents from evidence introduced at last year’s landmark child-endangerment trial of Msgr. William J. Lynn.

The records include confidential church memos, e-mails, psychological evaluations, and correspondence among archdiocese officials, accusers, and more than 20 priests who served in area parishes over the last half-century.

The allegations are not new – all were aired in two grand jury reports or at Lynn’s trial – and the accused priests they mention are dead, defrocked, or removed from ministry. But the website offers the first unfiltered public look at details of those claims, and of documents locked for years in what the archdiocese called its Secret Archives.

Many were drafted by Lynn and approved by Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua or by their predecessors. They chronicle what church officials knew and did after a priest was accused of abusing a minor.”

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24 Responses to “Read ‘Em and Weep: Bishop Accountability Publishes Data On Claims Against Philly Priests”

  1. News Conference in Harrisburg today urging passage of child abuse bills that would eliminate the statute of limitations, both civilly and criminally, for child sexual abuse as well as provide a window (time period) during which victims would be able to file civil claims regardless of the date of the alleged abuse. The big question: Will our Archbishop Chaput and our Catholic governor, Tom Corbett, seen together Monday at Independence Hall honoring Martin Luther King, both support this important and vital legislation which will provide better protection and legal access for ALL CHILDREN of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania? Let us not forget the bravery of two of the sponsors of this legislation, Rep. Bishop (Philadelphia) and Rep. Rozzi (Reading), who have shared with the citizens of PA their own personal experiences of sexual abuse at the hands of family members and school clergy.

    Michael Skiendzielewski
    Captain (Retired)
    Philadelphia Police Department

  2. Thanks, Susan. We are all in the debt of BishopAccountability.org and John Martin and his colleagues.

    If Seth Williams were less concerned with his mayoral ambitions and pleasing Ed Rendell, Cardinal Rigali and Archbishop Chaput, BA and the Philly Inquirer could just let the prosecutors do what they are getting paid to do–protect Philly children.

    But Seth and his Keystone Kops team just keep fumbling, while shameful Catholics keep contributing to the Archdiocese to fund its limitless legal fees. It is clear, to me at least as an experienced lawyer, that the Philly criminal justice system is either incapable and/or unwilling to take on Rigali/Chaput adequately. The Feds must step in.

    For an explanation of why President Obama must act now, please see my statement at my “ChristianCatholicism.com” website entitled, “President Obama Must Read the Latewst “LA Confidential” at http://wp.me/P2YEZ3-f3

  3. Thanks, Susan. We are all in the debt of BishopAccountability.org and John Martin and his colleagues. Their efforts would be unnecessary if Seth Williams paid less attention to his mayoral ambitions and to pleasing apparently Ed Rendell, Cardinal Rigali and Archbishop Chaput and more attention to managing his Keystone Kops’ prosecution team who keep fumbling cases.

    It is clear, at least to me as an experienced lawyer, that the Philly criminal justice system, after a half-century of almost criminal neglect, is either unable and/or unwilling to take on Rigali and Chaput in order to protect children from the continuing Philly Predatory Priest Paradise. The Feds need to step in!

    For an explanation of why President Obama must step in now, please see at my website, “ChristianCatholicism.com” my statement, “President Obama Must Read the Latest “LA Confidential” , accessible at: http://wp.me/P2YEZ3-f3

    • Slevin,

      You write about how priests don’t make much money. Father McDevitt used to offer me pro-life rose adhesive lapels for $1 each, and if I purchased one he’d give me one-half point extra credit toward my grade. My mother only gave me $2 for lunch. I started selling my bus tokens in school, trying to get more money to pay off the man who was raping me because I was failing his religion/sexual studies class. Less bus tokens meant I had about 4 miles to walk home from school every day, and it was really difficult walking that far after I was abused and sometimes digitally raped.

      If you needed a pencil, McDevitt had plenty, but you had to pay him $1 for it. He charged money for everything. He walked me down to the cafeteria to get a soda from the vending machine, which was located down this long hallway and that’s where the bullies hung out, because there wasn’t any school staff down there. He had the key to open the soda machine and it was free for him, but not for me. I hated taking that soda because I knew McDevitt would make me pay somehow. I really hated that man. I was tall for my age, but thin and weak. He had big hands, broad shoulders and he was very strong, at least much stronger than his 14 year-old students. I was scared shitless of him too. He didn’t even have to physically hurt me sometimes because he just gave me this look and I always knew he meant business, and if I didn’t obey he would physically hurt me.

      Before I left for school in the morning, I used to search my parent’s coat pockets for extra change. When my friends in the neighborhood got a dollar from their moms for the Jack & Jill truck that came down the street, I usually didn’t get anything and saved the money for McDevitt.

      During the summer after I left Father Judge, I didn’t know if my parents were going to make me go back there or if I’d get my way after begging them all summer to send me to a different school. So I got a job on the boardwalk in Sea Isle making hoagies and pizza, and I saved as much money as I could just in case I had to go back to Judge. I thought I might be able to payoff McDevitt and then he’d leave me alone. I was so relieved late that summer when I found out I could go to another school for my sophomore year. It was a public school, which I had never gone to and I was a little nervous about it, but I was willing to go anywhere just as long as I didn’t have to go back to Judge.

      McDevitt was an Oblate priest and I know they actually make way less than any other priest in the Catholic Church. I always wonder what he did with my money and how many other boys were giving him their lunch money too. I think the church should give me my $2 back and multiply it by six months and send me a check. I think Father Judge should also reimburse my Dad for tuition, because he always tells me, “We sent you and your brothers to good schools to get good educations. We didn’t send you there to be abused by some pervert priest.” My Dad worked three jobs and he worked very hard to give me and my brothers a good life and a good education. I’m sure he would’ve probably killed McDevitt if I had the balls to tell him what was going on back then.

      One time I actually did get mad at McDevitt and I told him that I was going to tell my Mom and the principal, but that was probably my dumbest move. He hurt me in a way a boy should never be hurt by a grown man and I can still feel the pain now just thinking about it. Somebody asked me if I wanted to go back to Judge for theraputic reasons. I’ll go back when they’re reading to implode and demolish that school of horrors.

  4. Sorry or the doubling up. I thought the initial comment got lost.

  5. Once again, C4C is right there giving us critical information, so we can be aware and initiate or follow up on action against these horrendous crimes. This batch of information on the bishopsaccountability.com confirms a brazen cover up, and it identifies some of the players. Msgr.(then Fr.) Beisel, who referred to himself as only the note taker in his trial testimony, while working with Lynn, directed a Monsignor (Devlin), who was also a Regional Vicar, on what to say to Avery regarding his removal as pastor ( exhibit 45). Avery already conceded to a psychiatrist he was guilty of sexual abuse. The note taker signed off in correspondence as Assistant Director, Secretary for Clergy, Rev. James D. Beisel. Currently, he is a pastor and a Dean (recently created position similar to a Regional Vicar).
    Since Avery did not get any word as to his assignment, he went to the offices of Secretary of Clergy, and just he and Msgr. Beisel met to discuss his future. Msgr. Beisel told him they were working on a placement for him, and he could not give him an accurate time frame per an office memo (exhibit 49). These are not the actions of a note taker, rather one who is completely imbedded in the process.
    Although Msgr. Beisel admitted he penned the list of 37 from the Secret Archives that Cardinal Bevilacqua ordered destroyed by shredding, he stated in testimony, he did not see any priest guilty of sexual misconduct. Avery is on the list under the caption of “Guilty of Sexual Misconduct with Minors”. This is all so disheartening.

    • In reviewing some of the posted AD docs, I was struck by the explicit expressions of support by Lynn et al. for the accused priests. I was also aware of how little support they provided to other priests, e.g., pastors who asked for direction or help. Were they supportive of the abusers because they wanted them to keep quiet and remain calm?

    • Disheartening, frustrating very much so. Deceitful, cover-ups,lying, abusers,…………. How can they look themselves in the mirror; I guess it is easy, it’s part of their “job description”.
      Truly isn’t a representationof Jesus, here on earth.
      I believe Billy and all of the victims and survivors.
      Peace! In my prayers!

    • Yes, Integritycc, it is very disheartening. Nevertheless, I really believe the corner has been turned. The Vatican is fearful now, as it should be.

      For further details, please read my statement, “Is the Vatican Panicking Over the Sex Scandals, or the Political Polls, or Both?”, accessible at:

      http://wp.me/P2YEZ3-gg

  6. I know what document I would like to have…..job description, duties, responsibilities, etc. for archdiocesan employees like Maggie Marshall and Louise Hagner. Archdiocesan personnel and their first responsibility is to (1) the victim or (2) the employer ??

    Asked that same question of a pastor, who is also a civil attorney, shortly after the release of the first GJR in late 2005. Should a parent bring an allegation of sexual abuse to you about a teacher, employee, etc., Father, where is your first responsibility, to your employer or the alleged victim? He accused this writer of having a “political agenda”. One could surely say that Archbishop Chaput has a “political agenda” as well, given all of the time spent in Harrisburg since his arrival in Philadelphia.

  7. I was appalled in Harrisburg last week. There were more advocates for a press conference outside of the capital building in support of the NRA than there was anyone in support of changing laws to protect children. It seemed the majority of people at the press conference to eliminate the SOL’s were politicians or just a few advocates for support organizations standing on the steps behind them. As I sat in the front row, I looked around and behind me and saw more reporters than I did victims or victim advocates. I brought along a friend, who was abused in NJ, and the three of us (including Art) drove up to Harrisburg together. Where are all the supporters? It was obvious to me that so many empty chairs were proof that people don’t care, or at least can’t excuse themselves for one day out of their daily routine to practice what they preech.

    Furthermore, and it must be said, I have been involved in so many different press conferences, demonstrations, protests, and testimonies in front of the NJ Senate Judiciary Committee trying to get SOL laws in NJ and NY changed. I went public with my abuse in June 2009, with the hope that it might help push Margaret Mackey’s bill through and eliminate the SOL and open a window in NY. I like supporting my fellow victims who were abused in NJ or NY, and I’d go anywhere in the world if I was asked to. If NJ or NY SOL’s changed tomorrow, it would not benefit me in terms of seeking justice, because I wasn’t abused in these states, but as a NJ resident and friend to many NJ/NY victims, I feel compelled to help whenever I can. However, I wondered where all the victims from NJ/NY were last week at the press conference in Harrisburg. I cannot understand why they wouldn’t come and support our cause for changing the SOL’s in PA. Bob Hoatson and my friend Kevin were the only NJ victims/advocates I saw in the building. I just wish that every victim from states all around us would come help in the fight for justice and get these laws changed, and when we do finally get them changed, we’ll all go to NY/NJ to help out those folks. I just would like to see bigger crowds of victims and supporters. 20 people, several of whom were politicians is not going to be enough to get our point across to Rep. Marsico and the other 30 legislators who have yet to support a change in the SOL and opening a two-year window for past victims to come forward.

    I want to make it very clear. This is not about money! I only heard two people at the press conference talk about the bigger issue, and it’s always the issue I try explaining to people who just don’t get it. If the civil statute was changed so that victims from the past could come forward and file suits, we would be able to publicly expose our abusers and raise awareness in the community, in schools, and in churches. Former priests like David Sciola, who is hiding out in the very small island of Sea Isle, directly across the street from the largest playground in the city, would be more publicly exposed. Priests who are still teaching children, after having abused past children, could be exposed by a victim who is ready to come forward when he/she now knows some measure of justice will be served. Publicity from the removal of the SOL and a two-year window will probably give many victims of clergy and non-clergy the opportunity to come forward and get help. I’ve said it many times before – if I had known the priest who abused me was deceased, and that he was known to have been a child rapist by his superiors, but I couldn’t press charges against his superiors because there was a Statute of Limitations, I would have NEVER come forward. I initially came forward because I dreamed of my abuser being handcuffed and thrown in jail. I fantasized of a trial where I could get my revenge and he wouldn’t be laughing anymore and he couldn’t hurt me anymore. Sometimes the SOL drives me into deep depression just as much as the abuse does. I desperately want to expose these scumbags and protect kids, but my government doesn’t let me.

    I can see no logical reason for there to be a Statute of Limitation on child sexual abuse. Clergy sexual abuse accounts for a very small percentage overall of child sexual abuse in this country and in the world. If a two-year window was opened, it would give incest victims the ability to come forward, or those abused by public school teachers, coaches, neighbors, etc. Abolishing the SOL’s and enacting stricter penalities for those who abuse children would may not completely end abuse, but it would help and it would be taking us in the right direction. More than 85% of child sexual abuse victims are not abused by religious figures, and giving those other victims a chance to come forward would expose the abusive parent, public school teacher, coach and so on. Unfortunately, too many politicians are Catholic and are worried about the future of the Catholic church in PA if these laws were enacted. Why? The Church pays no taxes and does not donate to the state at all. Why then is it so protected by politicians and why do they ignore the other 85% of child sexual abuse victims who have not been abused by clergy?

    • Rich, I was so disappointed I was not able to be there. I was at the previous press conferences in October 2011 and November 2011. The October press conference was lightly attended ,the November one on the heels of the Sandusky abuse exposed, was very well attended.I was home with sick kids last week and Susan had a funeral..we would have been there.

      • And please keep saying it, Kate. No one says it better, and too many Cathoilics still haven’t gotten your message, but some have and more will. Thank you.

      • Thanks, Kathy. No need for you or Susan to explain. You are busy mothers already working on these issues beyond the call of duty. Thanks once more to both of you and to Rich,as well, even if he addresses me as Slevin. I have been called worse, Rich. lol

      • I wasn’t pointing my finger at you, Kathy and Susan. I think it’s clear you both do way more than your fair share when it comes to this subject.

        I was thinking more about the people who “talk” about protecting kids and holding perpetrators accountable, but really “do” little or nothing about it.

        Personally, I am grateful you and Kathy are in this fight with us, and I’m also grateful you provide a forum for me to talk about my mountain of shit to “Kool-Aide Drinking Catholics.” (That’s what all of you were when you started this site. Ha ha!)

        Peace out! (That goes for you too, Lucky Number Slevin.)
        Rich

        • Oh I know you weren’t pointing a finger, just wanted to say that we were both disappointed that we could not make it. Did you meet Maureen Martinez at the press conference? She is a mom with 3 three young kids and also works full time.Whenever someone says they care but don’t have the time to get involved,I think of Maureen who got involved after the 2011 GJ report and has been a dynamo ever since. People make time for what is important,i f they don’t then obviously it isn’t that important to them.

          • In addition to the need to attend these rallies against child abuse, people need to read the exhibits coming out now and the future weeks from bishopsaccountability. So many people do not know a cardinal ordered the shredding of a list of suspects and guilty clergy. Copies of the exhibits, readily available, need to be shared with family and friends to educate them and get them to respond.

    • I believe the reason why chaput and the rcc are against the proposed changes, (by the way will happen as time and evolution will insure change) is becaused the rcc has lied it’s way into a corner and have no way out , so now they will have to go deeper into the lie. Religion always relies on mysticism and the ignorant to furnish a cash flow. This is about those running the church, not religion or the CREATOR ! Sometimes I feel like I am in the movie Planet of the Apes or one of the sequels where the inhabitants pray to a nuclear missile ! Iam NOT anti catholic but I am against claiming immunity and lying to protect enablers and abuser no matter who they are ,what they wear or claim to represent ! Period !

  8. Kate FitzGerald (hadit) Reply January 27, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    “Catholicism’s Curse” by Bruni at the New York Times. Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013.

    The priesthood: the “curse” or the bane, the infliction, the disaster, the scourge, the ruin, the venom, the torment, the burden, the calamity, the destruction, and the misery of our Catholic existence.

    For years, I’ve used this site to say that.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/27/opinion/sunday/bruni-catholicisms-curse.html

  9. Kate FitzGerald (hadit) Reply January 29, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Over the last few days, I have read several articles reporting the suicide death of Franciscan friar Brother Baker who sexually abused a number of Catholic high school children in Ohio and PA. He stabbed himself in the heart last Saturday, leaving a note conveying remorse for his crimes.

    To be Catholic is to be pro-life– pro the life of all human beings regardless of their transgressions and/or crimes. The loss of any human life is a tragedy. To be a C4C blogger is to be pro the protection of children from sexual abuse and pro justice for its victims/survivors.

    In the mix, it becomes rather complex in terms of how a Catholic child sexual abuse advocate should think about, or view, or reconcile, or come to terms with the death of Brother Baker.

    Neither my Catholic high school religion classes nor my Catholic college theology classes prepared me to answer it. Nor could I ever have imagined years ago that a clergy person would put such a scenario, or circumstance, or death on my plate to ponder.

    The history of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is indeed complex and multi-faceted. Yet the ongoing clerical denial and cover up altogether precludes the Church from acting as a moral compass, or from guiding our minds and consciences through tough questions, or from healing our hearts and souls. Instead, our dawnings, enlightenments, and epiphanies center on daily news stories detailing the activities of our clerics, confirming they are nothing more than arrogant bastards, colluding gangsters, tyrants, and down right outlaws.

    The utter abandonment inclines a person to abandon the question, the question of what to think, or how to view, or how to reconcile, or how to come to terms with the end to Brother Baker’s life.

    Yet, when we abandon life-questions, we can no longer call ourselves pro-life.

    • It’s an easy answer for me Kate. Both his life and death leave me very sad. At the outset of this web site, I met a woman who advocates for the victims and also visits the offenders in prison. I believe that is what Jesus would do. Those who sexually abuse children are selfish to the extreme. They can’t possibly know love. I think of them as a child themselves. What shaped them…created this horrific compulsion in them? I can’t lose my humanity to anger. A more humane society would better protect its children. Ironically, the only person who has ever given me grief over this site is a pro-life advocate.

  10. I hope Brother Baker suffered in the last few moment of his life. He’s nothing but a coward. Instead of facing the victims, whose lives he destroyed, he chose not to look them in the eye and take his punishment like a man. He lived as a child predator and he died that way too.

    And… people who claim to support us victims, but also visit our offenders in prison ARE NOT ON MY SIDE! I don’t care what shaped a child in becoming someone who abuses children. I don’t care if they themselves were abused as children. They should’ve known better! They should’ve known what it was like to be abused and it makes absolutely no sense how they could know that pain and place it on another child. They crossed the line you do not cross and therefore I have no sympathy for them. F#ck em!

    A more humane society would do whatever it could to protect children from scumbags. A more humane society would suspend every law that protects the predator while alienating its victims. A more humane society would be the exact opposite of our society.

    • By the way, I’m Pro-Choice. I am not a god, and I have no right telling a woman what she can and can’t do with her own body.

    • Rich,being that our society is archaic in protecting kids then I am all for perps being visited by therapists,psychologists,psychiatrists so that when they are released, kids might stand a chance.
      A social visit with chocolate and flowers…I will take a pass on that. I am working on something right now that is perps vs.child safety and it makes me infuriated. You hurt a kid, possess child pornography watching 2 year olds be raped..sorry in my world you just lost your rights.

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